The Grand Challenge in Non-classical Computation York Workshop
      Non-standard Computation

Harmony-seeking Computation

Christopher Alexander
University of California, Berkeley, and Cambridge University

"A Science of Non-Classical Dynamics Based on the Progressive Evolution of the Larger Whole"

In this paper, I am trying to lay out a new form of computation, which focuses on the harmony reached in a system. This type of computation in some way resembles certain recent results in chaos theory and complexity theory. However, the orientation of harmony-seeking computation is toward a kind of computation which finds harmonious configurations, and so helps to create things, above all, in real world situations: buildings, towns, agriculture, and ecology.

I try to show that this way of thinking about computation is closer to intuition and personal feeling than the processes we typically describe as "computations." It is also more useful, potentially, in a great variety of tasks we face in building and taking care of the surface of the Earth, and quite different in character since it is value-oriented, not value-free.

Examples are taken from art, architecture, biology, physics, astrophysics, drawing, crystallography, meteorology, dynamics of living systems, and ecology.

Download the full text of Harmony-Seeking Computation.

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